Snow storm closes NIU’s campus, classes canceled


Northern Star file photo

DeKalb snowplows plow Lucinda Ave. during the heavy snowfall.

By Robert Baird

The area nearly doubled its average snowfall accumulation for the month of March following a storm Tuesday.

NIU meteorologist Gilbert Sebenste said the snow was heavy, wet and compacted as it hit the ground.

“The typical average in March is 4.2 inches,” Sebenste said. “We’re getting all that and then some in one day.”

A winter storm warning by the National Weather Service was issued until midnight Tuesday.

“We will see diminishing winds [today] with a temperature of around 33 degrees,” Sebenste said. “The temperature is just right for road salts to work well. For commuters, [today] will be dry, and we might even see some sunshine.”

The Huskie bus system only had one bus running for each route after 12:30 p.m. on Tuesday.

“Reducing the number of buses is a group decision between NIU and the Huskie line,” said Al Davis, general manager of the Huskie bus line.

According to Paul Palian, director of media and public relations, the university administration made the decision to cancel classes during a conference call at 9:45 a.m. Tuesday.

“We had numerous conference calls to decide if classes would be canceled beginning at 4:15 p.m. [Monday],” Palian said. “We monitored it through the night, and had another conference call at 5 a.m. The forecast appeared slower than it was supposed to originally. It had snowed two inches already when the decision was made.”

Palian said the conference calls included Sebenste for a meteorologist’s insight. There were also representatives from the Human Resources office, University Relations and more.

“We canceled classes from a safety standpoint,” Palian said. “Tuesday at 12:45 p.m. is when our highest number of enrolled students are in classes. With the use of social media, it allows commuters to make arrangements ahead of time.”

Palian said arrangements for midterms that were canceled Tuesday should be made with the class’s instructor.

“I got an extra two days to study for my geology test,” said sophomore finance major Deanna Awadallah. “I think a lot of people in my class were happy about that, too.”

Palian said that classes will resume at 8 a.m. today.